I live in Orlando, so I live in the shadow of the big mouse at all times, even though I avoid Disney World (and anything on I-Drive) like the plague. But there’s a book out called The Dark Side of Disney that just might get me excited about Walt Disney World again. The Dark Side of Disney covers what I call the Disney Underground – alternative tips, tricks, fun (and sometimes illegal) things to do at the theme parks that include everything from sex-and-drugs to urban exploration to finding the best way to enjoy the Disney experience on the super-cheap. If nothing else, The Dark Side of Disney is a great tool for Disney guests looking to spend their vacation at Disney World but not break their bank doing so.
The first thing author Leonard Kinsey makes clear in his book is that he absolutely loves Disney World. For 33 years of his life, Kinsey has been to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center countless numbers of times and knows the places like the back of his hand. His activities in the parks just happens to be more “comprehensive” than most visitors. This book goes into details about the Disney underground stuff that most people keep on the down low – where to have sex, where to get drugs, how to get deluxe rooms on the cheap, sneaking in (for the desperate), tricking your way in front of lines, checking out rock bands, scamming free food, sneaking in booze, and – the one thing lots of people like to gossip about – sneaking into the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom (they’re called The Utilidors).
To get into slightly more detail, here is what you’ll find inside The Dark Side of Disney:
- Getting there on the Disney Magical Express Program – flying Southwest, getting a free shuttle from MCO to your resort, getting drink tickets
- Getting rooms at the Deluxe resorts at cheaper prices (renting points)
- Sneaking in (again, only for desperate people, and it’s extremely difficult, and if you do it please don’t hurt anyone, and by the way, it’s your funeral if you’re caught)
- Avoiding reseller scams, keeping away from timeshare presentations, places to park for free
- Saving money on dining, fridge swaps, photo pass shares
- The best places to get it on with your significant other (this is very detailed), and best ways to hook up with somebody if you’re single
- Best and worst places to get high
- Fast pass scams and pin trading scams
- A quick rundown of the alligators, roaches, and other bugs that you will probably run into (being a Florida resident for so long, I tend to forget that first time visitors to the state often freak out at such things)
- Urban exploration of the parks, including sneaking into the Utilidors (“Disney Underground” to some) (how to get a map, where the entrances are, what to expect, etc)
Kinsey manages to deliver all this with a great (if profanity-laced) sense of humor. He tells some good stories and has a few interviews with guys who have done some UE. And of course, to top it off you’ve got model Daven Star on the front and back covers. Even if you’re straight-laced, with a wife and three kids, you’ll still find good tips in here that won’t require breaking any laws and getting your family thrown in Disney jail (although maybe that would be a fun vacation, for some of you). It’s an entertaining read about the seedy underbelly of Disney World, a travel guide for the slightly twisted. And for cynical Orlando residents like me, it might just make Disney fun again.
– Bill G
Leonard Kinsey also maintains a website related to the book, with an updated blog. Check it out.